From Casey Research:
L: So, Doug, people around the world just celebrated Earth Day, and I know you have ideas on the subject. Did you ride a bike instead of driving a car that day?
Doug: Well, as you know, I love to drive high-performance cars, but I’m in downtown Buenos Aires now, and don’t have a car here because the taxis are so cheap and convenient. So I used taxis on Earth Day, just like any other day. I don’t bicycle and recycle to save the planet. But I did notice, with a sort of morbid fascination, the observation of Earth Day by many people around me.
It’s amazing to me – though maybe it shouldn’t be – the way Earth Day has caught on among idiots in general. It’s on its way to becoming just as bad news as May Day, which is the creation of the same sort of people. May Day – May 1 – is the Labor Day of most of the world, and it’s basically a Marxist holiday. April 22 is Earth Day. So you have a green Earth Day, followed by a red May Day. They ought to call this time of year “Watermelon Week,” because the so-called Greens are really watermelons: green only on the outside, but red through and through.
L: Can you substantiate that?
Doug: Apart from the fact that there’s about a 95% correlation between Reds and Greens everywhere in the world? Sure: just look at their policy proposals. Mainstream environmentalists never propose any market approaches to improving the environment; they only propose more socialist regulations and government controls. There are a few free-market environmentalists out there, but they are very few and far between. If the movement was all about the environment, there would at least be a mix of policies, constructively looking for whatever works best. But it’s not. In my opinion, concern for the environment is just the latest excuse for the same tired old collectivist/statist thinking that’s been such a disaster for the last hundred years.
Earth Day is nonsense and a bad idea. People of good will should ignore it, and work against government efforts to enshrine it.
L: Okay, but wait a minute. You know I agree that real environmentalism should be about the environment, not advancing a leftist agenda without regard for environmental consequences. But we do live on this one planet, and I don’t like breathing polluted air – and I doubt you like it any better than I do. What’s wrong with celebrating the planet we live on, as well as honest – and voluntary – efforts to keep it clean?
Doug: There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. I like green trees, blue skies, the birds and bunnies and so forth, as much as the next person. But that’s not really what’s going on here. But first, we have to put all of this in perspective…
L: What perspective would that be?
Doug: You have to realize that the earth is just a ball of dirt, circling an insignificant star, lost in an insignificant galaxy among a hundred billion other stars – and our galaxy is itself only one of a hundred billion galaxies, and maybe more, in the known universe. Further, there’s increasing conjecture that our universe is just one out of an infinite number of parallel universes, which may include any number just like ours. So on a cosmic scale, anything we do or don’t do to this planet is completely and absolutely insignificant. Making a religion out of worshiping the planet, and fomenting hysteria about it, strikes me as being cosmically stupid.
Doug: Yes, literally. The earth has an evolution of its own, and is constantly in the process of changing, regardless of the activities of men – the ice ages, as one tiny example, show how drastic those changes can be. Incidentally, we’re probably just in an interim period between glaciations, from the perspective of geological time. And periodically, other things happen that make human activities pale in significance. The next super volcano, as we talked about in our conversation on global warming, will change the earth’s surface environment tremendously. But maybe the environmental extremists will like that, because it could wipe out most of the human race. And though humans evolved on this planet just like all the other species, these people have it in their heads that humans and everything to do with them is somehow unnatural.
L: Well, maybe not, because such a volcanic event would also wipe out countless entire species of plants and animals.
Doug: You’re right, but some of these people are so virulently anti-human, they might rejoice anyway, and see it as just being a few eggs you have to break to make an omelet. A big asteroid strike could do the same thing. There are plenty of other things that could sweep all these insane – and unnatural – efforts to freeze nature in its present state aside like piles of leaves in a hurricane. My attitude about all this was summed up perfectly by George Carlin in this video. It’s a work of both comic and philosophical genius. I suggest everyone watch it at least once a week, until it sinks in and is grokked in its fullness.
L: Even if there’s no such cataclysm, as you like to say, everything gets folded into the earth’s mantle eventually anyway.
Doug: [Chuckles] That’s right. That is absolutely inevitable – and natural. That should, if only for that reason, appeal to Greens, even though they’re generally innocent of any knowledge of science in general, or geology in particular. But most places won’t be folded into the mantle for many millions of years – or at all, if the sun goes nova first. Meanwhile, if you value human life – which many of these people consciously and explicitly do not – this planet is here strictly for our pleasure. At least until we can find something better.
Save the trees, saves the bees. Save the whales, save the snails…. What about people? The arrogance of these people is at once breathtaking and pitiful. And many come right out and say that they would eliminate all humans if they could, because humans are a disease on the face of Mother Earth – or Gaia, as they call it.
L: I met a young man who said exactly that, once, in Peru. I asked why termites – which destroy every other living thing in an expanding circle around their nests – are superior to humans. And he’s not the only one I’ve met. Somehow, when I suggest that if they think the earth would be better off without humans, they could start helping by removing themselves, none of them ever take action. No, no, it’s other people whose choices they do not approve of who should go first.
Doug: Yes. These are perfectly horrible people who are polluting the intellectual environment on this planet with this new religion. And it is a religion. It has almost no basis in real science, though they like to doll it up in scientific terminology. Greenism is rife with politically motivated pseudoscientific gobbledygook masquerading as scientific research. Rather like Marxism, again – and not coincidentally, in my opinion. Lots of fundamentalist Christians can’t seem to wait for the world to come to an end with the Rapture, and Yahweh only knows how many other apocalyptically scary memes. And many hardcore Muslims are at least as anti-life and fanatical. It seems that everywhere one turns there’s somebody with plans to improve the world – or improve you. Anyone with any sense should want to get off this ball of dirt populated by so many busybody lunatics, and find some place with better vibes. But I fear religion is almost a genetic impulse in mankind; I certainly prefer the company of those who lack that gene. Of course, any time you turn anything into a religion you automatically, and perhaps necessarily, require dogma. Then you get heretics. Then, religious wars.
L: Well, religion has existed for an evolutionarily significant period of time, so in spite of the religious wars and whatnot, I figure it must have some value for its believers. However, having tried to reason with a number of such environmental extremists, I’m inclined to agree with you about them. And the worst part of it is that this intellectual pollution – this Gaia religion dressed up as science – is being deliberately targeted at children, in school, in cartoons, everywhere. It’s bad enough to fill young minds with errors and faulty logic, but they are scaring children, telling them they are doomed because the evil corporations control the governments and will never stop polluting the planet until we’re all dead, and so forth.
Doug: That’s exactly why it’s important to stand up and be counted as being against things like Earth Day, in no uncertain terms. This garbage needs debunking. It’s not enough to say, “Well, it’s a good idea, but it’s misguided in application.” That’s what people said about Marxism, which they said was a nice idea meant to help poor people, when in fact it was one of the most destructive ideas ever hatched for poor people. Especially for poor people. It’s important to look these people right in the eye and tell them they are wrong and doing great harm – don’t give ‘em an inch of moral high ground.
Call a spade a spade. If they are going to talk about treating the human race as a disease and eliminating it, they are talking about mass murder – genocide. That’s the plain truth. These people are psychologically damaged, and dangerous. They should be opposed, unabashedly, and at every opportunity. But that’s the moral argument. Entirely apart from that, I despise them on a visceral level, and find their company revolting. And boring.
L: I’ve run into that argument about Marxism as well. A lot of leftist apologists will say that Marxism was a good idea – or at least a noble one, but that it was not practical, or never had a real chance, because the evil capitalists never gave it one. But it wasn’t a good idea. Marxism might work for ants, but not for humans. Leftist governments of every stripe tried very hard to implement Marxist ideas for many decades, and all we got was a body count in the tens of millions. There is nothing noble about trying to organize a society in a way that’s inconsistent with human nature – and there is such a thing as human nature.
We’re up against something very similar with this earth-worship meme going around. For the true believers, it seems to be much more about being anti-human than about being pro-clean-environment. That’s why you see all sorts of environmental proposals that pay scant heed to large and painful human costs in pursuit of the benefit of every other species on the planet.
Doug: Just so. Mother Earth doesn’t exist, and if she did you’d find her a bad-tempered bitch who couldn’t care less for the carbon-based biological units covering her skin. She’s not a conscious, thinking being. Our planet is just a ball of silicon, carbon, iron, nitrogen, and such. I can hear the Greens now. “Save the beryllium! Save the hydrogen! Don’t save the uranium! We’re not sure about saving the carbon…”
In any event the planet itself has no rights.
Incidentally, I happen to really like most other living things, and want them to live long, happy, and peaceful lives – just on general principles. And I do what I can to see that that happens. But the Greens want to turn the earth into a political issue – which is to say an issue where they can use coercion to boss around their fellow humans. Like all true believers, they suffer from either stupidity – defined as an unwitting tendency to self-destruction – or a psychological aberration.
L: Good point. Rights are a human construct, that have meaning only among people. Actually, if you observe nature, concern for other species is unnatural. To a wolf or a worm or a germ, other things are either food, or not food; threats, or not threats. Any animal, plant, or microorganism on earth – any and every living thing besides humans – will expand as fast and as far as food supply and space allow, without any regard to the consequences for other species.
Humans do consider the well-being of other species, and this is a noble thing unique to us on this planet – but it should be a matter of aesthetics, not ethics, because ethics has no meaning beyond an intelligent species like ours. Giving hikers and bears equal rights only increases the number of hikers who end up inside of bears. Giving the planet rights would make it impossible for any species, from humans to termites, to live at all; we’d never get permission to build houses or nests, because Mother Earth does not speak.
Doug: Agreed. So, even assuming you want to look at it from the perspective of Mother Earth, the only way for things to get better is to let people get wealthier. Humans are not just going to go away. Relatively few of the six billion people here will agree to drink the environmentalist extremists’ Kool-Aid. Most of the most prominent environmentalists are rich hypocrites, driving around in limos, and flying around in private jets – people like Al Gore. And, as you’ve pointed out, people are a natural part of this planet as well. That means you’ve got to find solutions that include humans and motivate them in the right way.
The fact is that the most destructive societies and individuals for the environment are the poorest ones. Rich people don’t generally throw trash on the ground – many poor people do it all the time. The amount of trash blowing in the wind is one obvious way you can see whether a neighborhood is rich or not. The same thing applies to entire societies. From Canada to China, from Germany to Guatemala, the higher the per-capita GDP of any society, the less polluted the country. Poor people are not bad, they just don’t have time to care about such niceties – they are struggling to survive. Wealthier people have the time and the means to clean up their environments, so they do.
L: I see this all the time, as I travel the world looking for potentially profitable mining projects. To me, it seems to be clear evidence for your watermelon hypothesis that so-called environmentalists often accept “artisan” miners – generally poor indigenous people – but go apoplectic at the mention of an international mining company. But these evil companies have to live up to international standards of environmental protection, remediation, and reclamation – and, with a few criminal exceptions, they do. They often go above and beyond the legal requirements, because the people working for the companies actually do care and don’t want to dump toxic substances into rivers, etc.
But the artisan miners, they are worse than termites. They strip all the vegetation in the area for fuel or building material; they dig without regard for worker safety; they use cyanide and mercury to process gold and dump the residues in the creeks and rivers; and they make no effort whatsoever to protect the environment they work in, remedy any harm they do, or reclaim their work sites to a more natural state when they are done. But somehow, this is better to environmental extremists than letting an evil multinational company put a clean, modern mine in.
Doug: It’s true, I’ve seen it too – like that time we went to Bolivia and saw little boys working in the artisan mining camps… In a wealthier society, that wouldn’t happen. Not because of laws, but because kids don’t need to do it just in order to survive. And how do you make a society wealthier? Cut taxes, repeal regulations, and get the government out of the way of entrepreneurs. In short, you don’t actually have to do anything. Just let people create wealth and keep what they create. That will mend more harm than anything else, over time.
L: Okay, so wealth is a great antidote to environmental poison; what else?
Doug: Technology. Pollution can be defined as a waste of resources. It is an economic phenomenon, and lends itself to economic solutions. The more modern and high-tech the industry, the less pollution there tends to be. Looking ahead, micro-manufacturing will eliminate the great industrial slag heaps of the past. Ultimately, when practical nanotechnology arrives, there will be no pollution, because things will be assembled one atom at a time, precisely and with no waste. And anything that does get discarded, or becomes trash, is just more atoms someone can use as raw material for making something new. If you love the earth, but don’t hate humans, there is only one way forward: push for the fastest advance in technology possible.
L: Makes sense to me… anything else people can do, if they want a cleaner environment?
Doug: Embrace reason. So much of what people believe about the environment simply ain’t so, and most of it is pure hysteria – or outright scams. Global warming, as we’ve discussed in the past, is certainly a gigantic scam.
Incidentally, one of the worst things about the global warming scare is its effect on science. After it has been thoroughly debunked – which I’m confident will happen, and sooner rather than later – it may actually serve to discredit science itself. That’s because most people believe the lie that science has shown that anthropogenic global warming is real. I fear people will come to regard scientists as unreliable, and throw the baby out with the bath water.
But there are lots of other nasty aspects of the ongoing Green hysteria. A big one is how it actually wastes resources, even while it’s telling people to conserve them. For instance, the mandate for so-called “green jobs.” Or the drive for biofuels, which is moving a lot of corn production from food to fuel, which is raising food prices, destroying capital, and increasing hunger around the world. Carbon! Carbon, one of the basic elements in all living things, has become an environmental bogeyman. Children are being taught to feel guilty about their “carbon footprints.” All of these things misallocate resources, which is destructive of wealth.